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Own the Podium   — Honourable distinction recognizes organization’s outstanding contribution to society while promoting Canadian values—

OTTAWA—Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette has accepted to become patron of Own the Podium – a status that is awarded to organizations that support and promote Canadian values including diversity, inclusion, culture and knowledge.

Viceregal patronage is a longstanding practice by the Governor General aimed at supporting associations and organizations for their outstanding contributions to society.

The unique partnership between the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee and each of the national sport organizations helped Canada’s athletes and coaches deliver a record-setting performance at the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games with 57 trips to the podium in PyeongChang, Korea. The joint venture has shown formidable resilience while contributing to Canada’s stellar reputation around the world and has played a critical role in inspiring a whole new generation of youth to live healthier and more active lives through sport.

“Own the Podium is humbled and honoured to receive this recognition – one that we do not take lightly,” said Anne Merklinger, chief executive officer, Own the Podium. “This speaks to our solid record of advancement working with the Government of Canada, and our sport partners, to promote the benefits of high-performance sport in a responsible and sustainable manner while staying true to our mandate of helping Canadian athletes and coaches achieve success on the international stage.”

Organizations that are supported through patronage for the duration of the Governor General’s term in office are chosen based on having objectives aligned with the roles and responsibilities of the Governor General; are an organization that is national in scope; are governed and managed responsibly and sustainably and have a solid record of achievement with programs implemented on an annual basis.

“Through sport, we have been able to set an example for all Canadians about the importance of holding ourselves accountable to the values of fair play, integrity, inclusion and excellence,” added Merklinger.

Own the Podium was originally conceived in 2005 with the goal of helping Canadian athletes finish first overall at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Since its inception, Canada’s performance has soared on the international stage for both winter- and summer-sport athletes. Providing access to top-up funding for medal potential athletes, Own the Podium has further expanded its impact to focus on next-generation athletes. The additional focus on this group of athletes has been supported with accelerated funding from the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee.

“Our progress over the last 13 years is clear this ambitious experiment is working,” added Merklinger. “A new culture for winning, doing so fairly and with respect, has been instilled in all Canadians thanks to this unique program, and its ability to send Canadian athletes into international competition fully prepared to achieve excellence.” 

About Own the Podium

Own the Podium, a not-for-profit organization, prioritizes and determines investment strategies to national sport organizations in an effort to deliver more Olympic and Paralympic medals for Canada. Own the Podium’s largest contributor of funding is the Government of Canada with additional funding provided by the Canadian Olympic Committee and its Canadian Olympic Foundation, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, along with the corporate community.

For a full summary of Own the Podium initiatives and programs, including a breakdown of support and services by sport, please visit us at on the Internet.




Chris Dornan  

Own the Podium                        

T: 403-620-8731